Tag Archives: Jewell Parker Rhodes

Carib Lit Plus (Early to Mid February 2022)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back, or, if looking for an earlier installment, use the search window. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information – it is understood that this is the original sourcing and additional research would have been done by me to build the information shared here).

News

The Environmental Awareness Group in Antigua and Barbuda has re-shaped its floating classroom series in to tools for the classroom, specifically a publicly available video series (beginning with the one below focussed on the Antiguan Racer Snake) and companion workbook/booklet. The ‘Into the Wild’ series is sponsored by the Sandals Foundation, produced by Chaso Media Services, with theme song by G’Eve and DJ Quest. It is worth viewing, even if you’re not in the classroom.

(Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

Events

Carib Lit Plus covered the Antigua and Barbuda participation in the 2020 Dubai Expo in November 2021. Still no update that I have seen re lit arts (as with CARIFESTA or other opportunities to show the full spectrum of arts representation – and I don’t like that) but some arts and artists I love (like Miranda Askie) have gotten their shine and I like it for them. This latest post showing an artist capturing the Heather Doram designed national dress popped in my timeline and I had to share.

Expo 2020 is a World Expo being hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, October 2021 – March 2022, pushed back by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Expo’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. (Source – Maria Blackman PR on Facebook)

Transitions

Ashley Bryan, third from left, with, left to right, Edward Albee, Nora Ephron, and Salman Rushdie – co-honourees at a New York Public Library event

Learned tonight (February 6th 2022) of the passing of a great one, children’s book writer and illustrator Ashley Bryan, 98. I was fortunate to meet and interview Mr. Bryan who at the time visited his ancestral home, Antigua, on the regular. The New York native’s parents were from here and he had had quite the storied life, including being on the frontlines of D-Day during World War 2, an experience he captured in one of his more recent books Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from WWII to Peace. His award winning children’s books (Beautiful Blackbird etc) have been favourites of mine that I have used in readings and workshops here in Antigua and Barbuda – and his Dancing Granny is even performed by the youth drama group in my book Musical Youth. I believe (or hope) that the US knows what a treasure they had in him and am happy that I was personally able to discover his work. You can find him here on the blog in Meeting Ashley Bryan, Carib Lit Plus (February 2020), the Count to 10 with me book tag, Bestselling Black Caribbean Children’s Picture Books, and, of course, Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Literature. There are personal and intangible things from my conversation with Ashley Bryan that have stuck with me and I will remember him, and one of the ways that you can is by go and finding and reading his books, beginning with the ones found in our Antiguan and Barbudan Writing database.

Ashley Bryan at the Antigua and Barbuda Public Library.

This NPR obit. summarizes Ashley Bryan’s life but I just wanted to make sure, because the mainstream outlets won’t necessarily say this, that we know he was one of ours in addition to being one of the greats of children’s literature, creating specifically beautifully Black images and stories, in a space where we still need to say #weneeddiversebooks because there are not nearly enough. (Source – Twitter)

Discussions

Are you all caught up on the Tim Tim Bwa Fik romance writing podcast series interviewing Caribbean authors? It has so far interviewed in two parts BVI’s Eugenia O’Neal, Trinidad and Tobago’s N G Peltier, Barbados’ Callie Browning, and from Antigua and Barbuda me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) and Rilys/Rilzy Adams. Here is the site link. And remember to check the Wadadli Pen Reading Room and Gallery for more conversations. (Source – Twitter)

Books

100 + Voices for Miss Lou: Poets, Tributes, Interviews, Essays, edited by Opal Palmer Adisa and published by the UWI Press. Ms. Lou refers to Louise Bennett, 1919-2006, a beloved Jamaican writer who in verse and engaging storytelling popularized the embrace of the local vernacular in literature. She is described as the Mother of Jamaican Culture. Palmer Adisa has also recently published the authorized biography of former Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller Portia Dreams. The book is illustrated by Jamaica’s Wayne Powell. Simpson-Miller was the country’s first and to date only female Prime Minister. “She wanted to share her life with children because she wanted to inspire them …this book is about her childhood…and how she became who she became,” Palmer Adisa told the hosts of Sunrise on Jamaica’s CVM TV.

(Source – google search)

***

Karian Christian and Sonalli Andrews collaborated on a colouring and activity book, Children of the Soil, a jumbo sized book with 100 pages of content, to fill a gap she saw in culturally relevant content for children. Her January 2022 release has been added to the growing list of children’s literature from Antigua and Barbuda.

***

Writing Gender into the Caribbean: Selected Essays 1988 to 2020 by Patricia Mohammed. Patricia Mohammed is Emerita Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies, and the new book is a compilation of critical published and unpublished essays on and inspiring feminism and social thinking in the Caribbean. It centres both intersectionality and Caribbean-American feminist/gender/queer analyses with extensive research, literary creativity, and sensual intelligence; and exposes the complexities of feminism, developmental thought, gender awareness, sexual physiologies and Caribbean perspectives of gender experiencing drastic transformations throughout her extensive research and literary writings. The book is the recipient of the Barbara T. Christian Literary Award and Mohammed the recipient of the Caribbean Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award, both in 2021. The Barbara T. Christian Literary Award is given to the best book published within the most recent three-year period which explicitly and innovatively examines topics of race, gender, sexuality, class and intersectionality. The CSA Lifetime Achievement Award recognises outstanding achievements by a living scholar in academic leadership relating to the multi-disciplinary field of Caribbean Studies. ‘Leadership’ refers primarily to foundational or superior contributions in research and scholarship, but also considers teaching and mentoring, organisational or centre development, as well as contributions to the Caribbean Studies Association. By instituting a Lifetime Achievement Award, the CSA intends to recognise and honour the role and lifetime work of scholars who have contributed significantly and consistently to its field of study, and who have by virtue of their professional persona and intellect helped to expand not only the field’s boundaries, but also achieved greater public acknowledgement of and understanding for Caribbean Studies as a field of intellectual engagement and for the Caribbean region as a space of valuable and significant contributions to humanity. (Source – Hansib email)

***

Foreign Body: What if it happens to You? by British-Trinidadian writer Laurene is a 2021 Hansib release. Summary (excerpted): A tale so bizarre which occurs infrequently as a medical anomaly, Marcia’s cryptic pregnancy produces a son for her apparently infertile husband, Marcus. Results from DNA tests only cause further confusion that reverberates within the medical establishment as well as in the family. The question is asked: “Who is the mother of this baby?” The events and family history also have ramifications for the doctor dealing with the exceptional situation, who becomes personally involved as the story builds to its climax. (Source – Hansib email)

***

Antiguan and Barbudan award winning (and 2020-2021 Caribbean Readers Awards finalist for Birthday Shot) author Rilzy Adams has penned 23 books of fiction – maybe more by the time you read this. Her popular series of self-published romances added six titles in 2021 by my count – Deeper, Love Scammed, Surrender, Treble, Before We Fall, and Just For Tonight. She reports that she has signed with Nubian Audio for audiobook versions of Go Deep, Deeper, ATE, Surrender, and Treble. Adams is a two time Wadadli Pen finalist. (Source – Twitter)

Accolades

An award has been named in the memory of Barbadian-Canadian writer Austin Clarke. The inaugural winners are

Fiction

Winner: “Perfect Little Angels” by Vincent Anioke

Runners Up: “The Upper Bright World” by Zilla Jones and “Playing Possum” by Ian Gillespie

Poetry

Winner: “Same Ocean” by David Ly

Runner Up: “Shelter” by Erin Soros

Read about them here. (Source – N/A)

***

Jewell Parker Rhodes is not Caribbean but she is a past Wadadli Pen patron and we stan. She has recently picked up an Audiofile Earphones Award for her story ‘Paradise on Fire’. Listen here. (Source – N/A)

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Guyanese writer Imam Baksh was a University of Iowa International Writers Programmes writer-in-residence late in 2021. Before that, Baksh was a two-time Burt Award finalist. (Source – N/A)

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Beyonce Ambrose of Antigua and Barbuda was named by Vogue as one of ‘10 Breakout Models of Spring 2022‘. Ambrose is the daughter of cricketing icon Curtly Ambrose.

Lina Cruz of the Dominican Republic and América Gonzalez of Venezuela are also on the list. (Source – Facebook)

***

Diana McCaulay of Jamaica is the inaugural winner of the Watson, Little Prize for an extract from her in-progress novel Roots of Stone. The Prize is a celebration of the agency’s 50th anniversary and is dedicated to writers over 50 years of age. She was plucked from 430 entries from 20 countries. Watson, Little is a literary agency established in 1971. (Source – N/A)

***

The Calabash International Literary Festival will not be held in 2022, given the current uncertainties in the world. But it is still very much alive. Signs of life, its 2021 receipt of the Madame C J Walker Prize from the Hurston Wright Legacy Awards. The award is for supporting Black literature which Calabash has definitely done since it was founded by Justine Henzell, Kwame Dawes, and Colin Channer in 2001.

Me at Calabash in 2007. I was part of a small group of Antiguans and Barbudans who had applied for and received Commonwealth funding to attend. I got over my nerves enough to sign up for the open mic section (at which I read a section from the book in my hand, The Boy from Willow Bend) – Marlon James (yes, that Marlon James) was the one signing up writers for the open mic. Between the location, atmosphere, line up, books, food, and vibes, it is perhaps my favourite literary event that I’ve attended in the region and I dream of returning – hopefully as an invited author on the line-up. A writer can dream.

Calabash will be back in 2023. (Source – Twitter)

***

This one is not in the arts lanes and it’s also late since the award was presented late last year but it’s in the realm of youth development, so not off brand for us here at Wadadli Youth Pen Prize – even if it is football related. Something that jumped out at me was what the winning community hero, coach Arnold ‘Keagan’ James said about putting back in to others what had been put in to him.

(Source – ABS TV)

***

News of Celeste Mohammed winning best novel in this year’s Caribbean Readers Awards, and other outcomes, were already shared with you in the last Carib Lit Plus. But I’ve since written about it in my CREATIVE SPACE column and I thought I’d share that too. Here you go.

(Source – me)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Reading Room and Gallery 40

Things I read that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right.

BLOGS

June was Caribbean American Heritage Month, prompting the return of the #readCaribbean and #CaribAthon hashtags around social media. Over on my other blog Jhohadli, I participated with some recommendations.

REPORTS

“Like any journalism, film criticism often displeases those being written about. And, like any journalists, film critics must have the support of their publications when that displeasure, usually coming from people far more powerful than any journalist, is made known — especially when that publication claims to report on the industry those powerful people inhabit,” the statement reads. “It is appalling that, in this instance, Variety chose to side with that power rather than supporting its writer.” – a report on the criticism of the response to criticism of criticism in The Wrap.

***

“James uses vibrant colors and draws on Ethiopian Christian iconography in her work, an influence evident in the wide, almond-shaped eyes of the people she depicts.” – Antigua-descended, Bronx-artist Laura James work discussed in Fordham News’ Behind the Cover: Together We Rise by Laura James

“In an effort to fight conoravirus fears, Antigua-rooted artist Laura James posted a painting powered message of hope on Facebook …” – read more about it in the NY Daily News.

***

“I knew I wanted magic and I knew I wanted magical realism.” – Leone Ross discusses her new book Popisho/This One Sky Day with Alicia O’Keeffe in The Bookseller. Read in full.

STORIES/SHORT FICTION

“He remembered a time before, when his mother’s breath smelled of almonds and her neck smelled of roses and cinnamon. She used to hold him in her arms and he used to breathe her in. A long time ago.” – from Cam and the Maskless by Lisa Allen-Agostini in About Place Journal Vol. II Issue II Pandemic Blues

***

How to Marry an African President by Erica Sugo Anyadike – Wasafiri Magazine

“Your husband is no longer the authoritarian figure he was, tall, forbidding, back ramrod straight. His shoulders droop now, he falls asleep at the dinner table. Still he is respected and revered. What he says counts and he has crowned you his political heir.” – How to Marry an African President by Erica Sugo Anyadike

***

“Carnival is much more than a show.” – Mario Picayo’s It Takes a Village read by Chef Julius Jackson

***

“When she wakes up, she is alone on the back of a float, pieces of her costume missing and other pieces askew, and the mas yard is all but abandoned.”

This is an audio recording of my (Joanne C. Hillhouse) story Carnival Hangover as prepared for posting on the intersectantigua.com platform. It is read by Nneka Nicholas. Pay attention to the trigger warning.

INTERVIEWS/CONVERSATIONS

“I can’t think of any one favorite poem now. At present, I love the poetry of Dionne Brand, who is in many ways different from me politically. You know, she is an activist, LGBT, and we get on well, we talk well, I love her work. Somebody would want to know, how come I, kind of a conservative Christian, and this activist LGBT connect but we admire each other’s work. Our connection is the literature and writers we look to. I admire the vision and movements of her poetry.” – John Robert Lee in conversation with Andy Caul

***

“I like to think of myself as a superhero.” – Ibtihaj Muhammad in conversation with Jewell Parker Rhodes (and vice versa)

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“I remember just really resenting how much my little body was policed as a child.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the birth of her feminism in this conversation on Bookshelfie.

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“I’m proud of this. I’m proud that I keep getting asked about the food… the challenge was to find different ways to make food beautiful, accessible, interesting, magical, multilayered.” – Leone Ross of Jamaica and Britain in conversation with American author Amber Sparks about her book Popisho/This One Sky Day.

***

“I wasn’t able to kind of bring out those nuances enough but I hint at them. The idea that the urban gay person has access to a culture and support network that the rural Indian boy…does not have. …and it really does seem to spin on socio economic factors.” – Trinidad born author Ingrid Persaud in conversation with Grenada born author and editor Jacob Ross about her book Love After Love.

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“We have a governor who is attempting to sell the magic and again, they push it away; again, society says we will not have it.” – Jamaican writers Leone Ross and Marlon James in conversation about Ross’ new book – Popisho in the US; This One Sky Day in the UK.

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“My journey is my own and once I’m learning from it and growing from it, then it’s a success.” – Cherie Jones, Barbadian, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, during the US Embassy celebrates World Book and Copyright Day with a Writers Book Chat featuring Cherie Jones ‘Inspiring Eastern Caribbean Female Writers’

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“The beautiful thing about the creative arts, isn’t it, if you’re doing the thing you’ve always done, then you’re not really creating. For me, as challenging as these new endeavours are, because I always like to experiment, you’re always trying to discover the boundaries not only of your talent, of the ideas that are in your mind, of your potential, of your ability to imagine the world…. as a writer, you don’t get to see the side work as much, but I feel that we do that as well…it’s always about challenging yourself, push your boundaries technically but also express, …for me the things that I’m trying to understand, or the things that I’m trying to explore.” – me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) in conversation for World Book and Copyright Day with artist and award winning poet Danielle Boodoo Fortune, of Trinidad and Tobago, who has illustrated my books Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and The Jungle Outside. We discuss the process of creating together.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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CARIB LIT Plus Mid to Late May 2020

CREATIVE SPACE

Have you been keeping up with my CREATIVE SPACE series covering local art and culture? I say local but there’s been some regional spillage. The second issue of May 2020 (the series as of 2020 is running every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer with an extended edition on my blog), however, covered Antiguan and Barbudan Art of the Century.  ‘Heather’s picks: Mark Brown’s Angel in Crisis series – a 2008 visual art show described in international publication The Culture Trip as “a provocative contemplation of the human condition”. She credited “the depth of the pathos”.’ That’s just one  of three picks by Antiguan and Barbudan visual artist Heather Doram. Read about her other picks, and picks from other artists. Tell me about your picks. In case you missed any of the previous installments in the series, they are archived on the Jhohadli website.

Covid Consequences

The country (Antigua and Barbuda), like much of the world, has been reopening – cross your fingers. Some are being real reckless; don’t be like them. COVID-19 is still very much with us; this is economic expediency not an all-clear sign.

Carnival remains cancelled – for the first time in my lifetime.

New music from local artist Rashid Walker

A little help from the Caribbean Development Bank for people in the creative industries who’ve suffered loss of income due to COVID-19. Specifically to the festivals sub-sector and the Carnival and Festivals sub-sector. The grant is for product development – to produce an online/virtual product, marketing – to promote new Caribbean content, digital – to support the further development of electronic solutions for revenue generation; projects should be community oriented. Details here.

Book Recs

Stay with me here. Margaret Busby OBE is Britain’s youngest and first Black female publisher. She was recently profiled in the 100 Pioneering Women of Sussex Blog series. Excerpt: “Margaret Busby was born in 1944 in Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana) to Dr George Busby and Mrs Sarah Busby. She went to school in Sussex in Bexhill until the age of 15. She then went to London University to read English, graduating in 1964.” That had me saying, wow. because Margaret is a solid 29 years older than me and I had no idea when we met; her Black don’t crack for real but also she was just so cool – I never once felt out of place around her (which sometimes happens when you walk in to certain spaces). Here we are (her far right, me second from right) in Sharjah in 2019:

The article talks about New Daughters of Africa, the second global anthology in this series (this one 25 years after the original) which she edited. My interactions with her were always respectful and generous – even after all she  has achieved; I have enjoyed being a part of this project. “The 2019 anthology has been nominated for NAACP Awards for Outstanding Literary Work 2020 and a Lifetime Achievement in African Literature by Africa Writes in 2019. Each anthology compiles more than 200 women from Africa and the African diaspora.” So, the rec is New Daughters of Africa. Don’t sleep on it.

 

“Some of the earliest pioneers of crime fiction and mystery thrillers, who included Edgar Mittelholzer and John Morris (pseudonym of John Hearne and Morris Cargill), now find a worthy successor in Grenadian writer Jacob Ross.” – John R Lee’s review of new book Jacob Ross book Black Rain Falling

African American writer Jewell Parker Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen patron (she donated copies of her book Ninth Ward in 2011) and we are happy to report this positive review of her latest book Black Brother, Black Brother. ‘Born of a white father and a black mother, Donte is extremely darker than his light-skinned brother Trey, and faces substantial discrimination at Middlefield Prep. His schoolmates label him “black brother” and even with Trey’s support he is treated like an outcast. Being one of the few black boys at his new school, Donte is framed and arrested for “throwing a pencil with intent to harm.” His society is constructed by whites for whites so those belonging to this race are considered lawful and civilized. Blackness, on the other hand, is viewed as a stain and is linked to criminality. This causes Donte to be seen as a “thug” who is responsible for any disruption that arises at Middlefield. He is left feeling defeated and confused as he highlights, “the uniform is supposed to make us all the same.” Uniforms at Middlefield Prep. do not guarantee uniformity and compassion, whiteness does, and this is something that Donte lacks on the outside.’ Sounds really interesting. Read the full review at the African American Literary Book Club.

Bocas Lit Fest’s #MyCaribbeanLibrary survey which invited people to share books that made them has yielded the following titles: Giant by Trinidad-born BVI author with Antiguan roots, recent Bocas winner (for another book) Richard Georges, Pynter Bender by Grenada born UK based writer Jacob Ross, US based Jamaican writer Orlando Patterson’s Children of Sisyphus, UK based Jamaican writer Kei Miller’s Augustown, He Drown She in the Sea by Shani Mootoo, a Canada based Trinidadian writer, Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nunez, Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo, of Trinidad, based in Scotland, Mad Woman by Jamican-American Shara McCallum, Uncle Brother by Jamaican Barbara Lalla, who is professor emerita from Trinidad’s UWI campus, Jamaica’s poet laureate Lorna Goodison’s By Love Possessed, Claire Adam’s Trinidad set Golden Child, The Art of White Roses by Viviana Prada-Nunez of Puerto Rico, UK based Trini Monique Roffey’s House of Ashes, Barbados’ George Lamming’s In the Castle of My Skin, Trinidad’s Michael Anthony’s Green Days by the River, Nobel winning Omerus by St. Lucia’s Derek Walcott, Dominican Jean Rhys’ Voyage in the Dark, Small Island by Andrea Levy, a British writer of Jamaican descent, Trinidadian V. S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street, and Guadeloupean writer Maryse Conde’s Segu.

The New York Public Library’s picks in April for Immigrant Heritage Week included Caribbean titles, including US based Trinidadian Elizabeth Nunez’s memoir Not for Everyday Use and Esmeralda Santiago’s When I was Puerto Rican.

Awards

The five regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be announced on June 2nd 2020 and the overall winner during a special ceremony on June 30th 2020. Click here for information on catching it live. In the running for the Caribbean prize are Jamaica’s Brian S. Heap (Mafootoo), Trinidad and Tobago’s Brandon McIvor (Finger, Spinster, Serial Killer), and Sharma Taylor (Cash and Carry), of Jamaica but resident in Barbados, whom I interviewed on my Jhohadli blog.

Jamaican writer Marlon James won the Ray Bradbury prize from the L. A. Times for his book Black Leopard, Red Wolf. The prize is for science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction generally.

Congratulations to all Wadadli Youth Pen Prize recipients. Here’s this year’s photogallery.

Opportunities

The Bocas Lit Fest, as part of its 10th anniversary, has rolled out a number of resources for readers and writers – e.g. a publishing consultancy and book network.

Remember to check the Opportunities Too page here on the blog for opportunities for writers and artists with pending deadlines.

Obit.

Fans of the road march winning (Dress Back) Antiguan and Barbudan Vision band are mourning another loss. Founding member and vocalist (2 x Calypso monarch Edimelo) died quite suddenly recently and now so has another founding member, keyboardist Eric Peters. It was announced on May 20th 2020 that he had been found dead at his Browne’s Avenue home. A post mortem was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Poet Cecil Gray died in March and was subsequently tributed by Peepal Tree Press with which he had a special relationship.

Guyanese playwright and director Michael Gilkes and cartoonist Samuel Rudolph Seymour – more casualties of COVID-19 from the Caribbean arts community – were remembered in the hometown press.

 

Compiled by Antiguan and Barbudan writer and Wadadli Pen coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse from various sources. 

 

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Congratulations to Jewell Parker-Rhodes

“Absolutely floored by this news. 25 years into my career as an author, GHOST BOYS just became my first New York Times Bestseller!!!” – Jewell Parker Rhodes (on facebook)

Ghost Boys

Jewell Parker Rhodes, as the quote above suggests, is an accomplished author – an African-American author. And yet, when I emailed her out of the blue in 2011 to see if she would be willing to contribute two copies of her book Ninth Ward to the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize package, she did just that. With willingness and generousity.

Ninth

That contribution actually benefited not only the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize but the Cushion Club Reading Club for Kids (my other major volunteer project over the years) – I can’t remember if she sent three or if the overlap was one of the kids who won the book from Wadadli Pen sharing their copy with the Cushion Club, but I know the Cushion Club kids read and loved Ninth Ward. Ninth Ward featured a little girl dealing with life post-Katrina in New Orleans, Rhodes seems to relish putting her young protagonists in the midst or aftermath of big often catastrophic events (e.g. Towers Falling).

Ghost Boys – which shines a light on extra-judicial police shooting of unarmed black men – has been on my to-read list for a while. This book, specifically references Tamir Rice (the death of the protagonist mirroring his) and Emmett Till (killed in the Jim Crow south decades ago for allegedly whistling at a white woman who a few years ago admitted to lying about the whole thing).

I’m talking about Ghost Boys because I’m on the African American Literary Club mailing list and an email announcing Parks’ latest as ‘The #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick’ just showed up in my inbox. She might not know it but she’s one of ours, Wadadli Pen fam, and we shout out our own. Read the AALBC post about Ghost Boys here.

And Big Up, JPR.

While we’re here, here are some of the other books for children, teens, or young adults that have been gifted to Wadadli Pen courtesy of the authors and/or their publishers over the years (in case you’re looking for a read).

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace; also a freelance writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator). All Rights Reserved. If you like the content here follow or recommend the blog, also, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. Thank you.

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From the Mailbox – Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell Parker Rhodes is a past Wadadli Pen patron. This just in, or recently in, news of her Louisiana Girls Trilogy.

The Louisiana Girls trilogy from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes brings together three heroic girls from across history. These coming of age books tell the stories of Lanesha, Sugar, and Maddy, each living in Louisiana during a time of crisis, and each finding bravery within themselves in the face of overwhelming adversity. Steeped in the folklore tradition of the American deep south, this trilogy celebrates the power of friendship and family, and demonstrates how anyone with enough strength in their heart can change the lives of those around them. All three Louisiana Girls books are now available in paperback.

Bayou Magic

It’s Maddy’s turn to have a bayou summer. At first she misses life back home in the city, but soon she grows to love everything about her new surroundings—the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only Maddy sees. Could it be a mermaid? A coming-of-age tale rich with folk magic, set in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, Bayou Magic celebrates hope, friendship, and family, and captures the wonder of life in the Deep South.

Sugar

Slavery is over, but ten-year-old Sugar doesn’t feel very free laboring in the fields all day. When Chinese workers are brought in to help harvest the cane, the older River Road folks feel threatened, but Sugar is fascinated. As she befriends young Beau and elder Master Liu, they introduce her to the traditions of their culture, and she, in turn, shares the ways of plantation life. Sugar soon realizes that she must be the one to bridge the cultural gap and bring the community together. Here is a story of unlikely friendships and how they can change our lives forever.

This is the one she contributed to the Wadadli Pen Challenge prize package, and because one of the winners was a Cushion Club member, the club got an opportunity to read and enjoy it as well.

Ninth Ward

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She doesn’t have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya’s visions show a powerful hurricane–Katrina–fast approaching, it’s up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm. Ninth Ward is a celebration of resilience, love, family, and friendship, and a deeply emotional story of transformation.

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Bayou Magic

Sharing this because Jewell Parker Rhodes is the coolest. She’s a past donor to the Wadadli Pen prize package and her donated book Ninth Ward was read and loved by the Cushion Club. Judging from Ninth Ward (and this looks consistent across several books), she writes these interesting, black girls…and makes cool book trailers to introduce them, am I right?

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Ninth Ward and more

When I emailed Jewell Parker Rhodes requesting she contribute copies of her children’s book Ninth Ward

Credits – book cover artist Shino Arihara and design by Alison Impey.

to the 2011 Wadadli Pen prize package, it was because the plot caught my attention and I figured Antiguan and Barbudan kids would enjoy and be able to relate to this tale of 12-year-old Lanesha, her grand Mama YaYa and the hurricane that would change their lives. We’re familiar, of course, with the Katrina situation and here in the Caribbean know intimately the destructive force of hurricane season all too well. Plus, of all places American, I feel particularly drawn to New Orleans which is on my must-visit list. Well, I’m happy to report that Jewell did not hesitate and mailed two copies of the book to Antigua; the getting here took a while but they arrived in the mail today. So thank you, for your generous response to an anonymous(ish) request, writer to writer, across the water. My only regret, that I didn’t request an extra copy for Cushion Club reading. After this, hopefully, they’ll be stocked locally (if they aren’t already).

For more on the Ninth Ward, check here for a book club discussion, here  for Amazon critic and customer reviews, here  for a blogger’s review, and book details at the author’s own site here.

For other book donations, thanks as well to Antiguan authors Floree Williams (Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses and Through the Closed Window) and Marcel Marshall (All that Glitters is not Gold); the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival (for the contribution of books by Bernice  McFadden, Sugar; Lorna Goodison, Turn Thanks and Selected Poems;  and Elizabeth Nunez, Prospero’s Daughter and Anna In-Between); and 2011 partner, the Best of Books.

For the full list of 2011 prize donors, see here.

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Caribbean Alliance becomes newest prize sponsor

Caribbean Alliance Insurance Company Limited has become the latest business to commit to the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize package. We want to express sincerest thanks to Caribbean Alliance. Its cash contribution, the second largest individual cash contribution for the Best of Books Wadadli Pen Challenge 2011 after ABI Insurance, will go a long way towards encouraging and supporting the creativity and effort of the participants in this year’s Challenge. The prize contributions are designed as an incentive, not the reason for creating art – the motivation for creating art is beyond material – but recognition that what has been created has real value, that our artistes have value. It has been a challenging period for raising contributions, so I especially salute the businesses that have come through. In addition to Caribbean Alliance and ABI Insurance, this includes Seven Seas/Frank B. Armstrong, and K & E Party Time. It also includes associations and programmes like the International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda and the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival. Artists and writers are also chipping in; namely Edison Liburd, Jennifer Meranto, D. Gisele Isaac, Floree Williams, Marcel Marshall, and African American author Jewell Parker Rhodes.

As previously reported, the literary arts judging cycle is in progress, and the visual art submissions are due in any day now; the outcome to be revealed at the upcoming Best of Books anniversary street fair in June. We also invite you to check out the ever-growing Wadadli Pen site (https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com) which includes everything from past winning stories to past sponsors and partners, and lots more on not just Wadadli Pen but the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, and the wider Caribbean.

Wadadli Pen Partners

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PRESS RELEASE – WADADLI PEN’S 2011 CHALLENGE TO INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESS: GIVE

The Best of Books Wadadli Pen Challenge 2011 has launched. “We’ve invited young writers to create content for young readers and we continue to invite businesses to support and reward those efforts,” said Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator, and author Joanne C. Hillhouse (The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight). She is in the process of soliciting prizes for this year’s competition.

ABI insurance is the latest sponsor to come on board. “We were looking for various youth community involvement programmes,” explained Senior PR and Marketing representative Sherie-ann Brazier.  Specifically, she continued, having concentrated their outreach efforts on the primary schools, they were keen to do something with secondary school students.

Wadadli Pen is open to primary and secondary school students, and young adults up to age 35. Winners will be selected in three age categories – 12 and under, 13 to 17, and 18 to 35; a top three overall will also be selected.

With so many prizes to give out, the organizers are thankful for the companies who’ve so far come on board. These include Seven Seas via local distributor Frank B. Armstrong, the Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival, the International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda, African American author of Ninth Ward Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Through a Window Antiguan author Floree Williams; also Antiguanice.com which is hosting a Wadadli Pen page on its site.

“We always want to help with anything that is educational,” said Margo Mason, marketing representative for Frank B. Armstrong/Seven Seas, which is also known for its annual sponsorship of the Rotaract Spelling Bee. “We want to continue with the development of the literary arts in the country. It’s the first time (we’re investing in Wadadli Pen) but hopefully won’t be the last.”

K.C. Nash, speaking for the IWC,  which annually provides scholarships to young women among other programmes, said, “Most of what we do as far as fundraising is in terms of education so we encourage programmes that are in the educational vein, especially with young people; we try to support them as much as we can.”

While Hillhouse continues to reach out to other businesses behind the scenes, she is, also, reaching out publicly to other businesses and individuals to give what they can to encourage the literary arts and literacy in Antigua and Barbuda. Since launching in 2004, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize has been able to give prizes big and small from computers to books, trips to pens. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity shown over the years,” said Hillhouse, noting that who gave what can still be seen at https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com

Her other appeal is to teachers, parents, and youth workers generally to help spread the word to creative young people who may have a story to tell, and can do so in 600 words or less. This year they’re targeting stories written with young readers in mind – the kind of story a parent might read to a child or a young reader would pick up and read on his or her own.  “As usual we want them to have a Caribbean sensibility,” Hillhouse said. The deadline is March 31st. For guidelines and writing tips, check the website.

To contact the coordinator, email wadadlipen@yahoo.com

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